Josephine Baker was an American-born French dancer, singer and actress. Born in St. Louis, she became a citizen of France in 1937. Fluent in both English and French, Baker was an international icon, perhaps best known for her infamous banana dance. She was the first African-American female to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934), integrate an American concert hall and become a world-famous entertainer. Baker is also noted for her contributions to the civil rights movement in the United States, for assisting the French Resistance during World War II and for receiving the French military honor, the Croix de guerre.
Note: Baker was offered the unofficial leadership of the civil rights movement by Coretta Scott King in 1968 following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., but turned it down.